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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘PRAY’

A Soldier’s Mother: Why Should You Pray for Shimon Peres?

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

I was asked that question by someone who is, quite justifiably, angry and disgusted by many of the things that Shimon Peres did in his life.

I thought about the question, struggled with it for barely a second, and said the first thing that came to mind, “because he’s a Jew, because he’s a human being.”

That’s it. Really. He is someone’s father, someone’s grandfather, even someone’s great grandfather. I have never agreed with his politics. I thought he was a terrible politician, a decent president except when he broke the rules and flaunted his politics.

I’ll never think he is/was a great man. I’m glad he had such a strong record of losing elections. I think he did a lot of damage to Israel by apologizing for things long before blame could be determined (and never apologizing when the blame he readily accepted on our behalf was proven not to be ours at all).

I think he lived his life overshadowed by the memory of the Holocaust and the need of many Jews from Europe, to bow before the non-Jew, to appease the calm rather than fight. He was never much of a fighter.

But it doesn’t matter now because ultimately, God will decide. His future is in God’s hands and it isn’t my place to wish upon him some everlasting punishment. I will pray for his recovery; I will pray that God forgives him.

I believe in his way, he loves this land and spent a lifetime trying to serve it as best he could. He is part of a generation mostly lost to us. A generation that was taught to relate to the world and other peoples in a way that helped perpetuate our weakness.

Will I mourn for Shimon Peres? Honestly, probably not much. He helped bring us Oslo, which is responsible for so much of the problems we have today inside our country and in our relationship with the world. That it was doomed to fail, makes it all the more sad and unnecessary.

Shimon Peres is a gentleman, a man of culture. In his own way, I have heard he is a kind man. He was never much of a leader, not for a country like Israel, which is surrounded by our enemies, constantly at war, always on defense. He came from Europe. He was a product of Europe and the Western world, transplanted into the Middle East.

I will wish him well. I will wish him peace in the world to come. He deprived so many of peace in this world by running, always running down the wrong roads. So many failures on his part because he was never strong enough to insist that the right message be delivered. The strong message that we are here to stay and we will remain here by right and even by might, when needed.

I’ve heard Shimon Peres speak many times over the years. He is witty and smart. He can be charming. I can only hope that whatever tasks God offers to him in the world to come, are more suited to the man he wished he was, rather than the man we needed him to be.

Ultimately, in these sad hours, what it comes down to is no longer the political life he led, but the family he leaves behind. They deserve our prayers, our hopes that he will stay with them longer. At the end of the say, as his wife Sonia wanted him to remember, it really is about family. May God offer them comfort in these hours.

Paula Stern

Police: Jews Forbidden to Pray without Permit Anywhere in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

In a hearing before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court regarding young women who prayed in the Old City, a police representative declared that Jewish prayer is illegal without police permit in the Muslim quarter and violates public order.

Over the past few weeks, young Jewish men and women have been arrested for praying near the gates of the Temple Mount, despite the fact that there is no law, nor “status quo” agreement that prohibits this practice. But on Tuesday, police stated for the first time that such behavior, namely Jews praying anywhere in the Muslim quarter of the Old City, constitutes a crime.

According to the legal aid society Honenu, three young women were arrested on Sunday while praying in the vicinity of the Lions’ Gate. They were interrogated on suspicion of violating the public order and were released during the night, on condition that they appear in court Monday at a hearing of police request to restrict their entry into the Old City.

Their Honenu attorney, David Halevi, was asking what crime his clients had committed by praying in the Old City of Jerusalem, an area which has been a magnet for millions of Jews who pray there. Police representative Safi Sarhan and Superintendent Roy Avrahami explained that the very act of prayer in the Muslim quarter and near the Temple Mount gates without coordination with and permit from police is a violation of the public peace.

“You may pray anywhere in the Jewish quarter, but as soon as you go without authorization and pray in the Muslim quarter it causes disorder. Inside the Muslim quarter and in the vestibules they are prohibited from praying,” Sarhan stated. When attorney Halevi asked on which law police based this statement, Sarhan said it was based on police discretion, since they anticipate that Jews who pray in the Muslim quarter would provoke a disturbance of the peace.

Quite disturbingly, Judge Yael Yitav accepted the police argument and barred the defendants for 15 days from the Muslim quarter, the Temple Mount, and an area of 25 yards around the gates of the Temple Mount. Her decision follows an emerging pattern of law enforcement in Israel, whereby instead of protecting Jews from the Arab mob that attacks them for praying, police punish the Jews who pray “without permission.”

The court’s decision appears to fly in the face of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed in the 1948 General Assembly resolution 217 (III), whose Article 18 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

According to Judge Yitav, in Jerusalem, the term “everyone” in article 18 excludes Jews.

Attorney Halevi said in a statement that “this is an illegal conduct by Israel Police, which, in order to secure industrial peace has opted without authority and without any crime being committed by my clients to remove them while severely harming their freedom of movement and with abuse of police powers.”

According to Honenu, over the past month alone the organization has helped 35 Jews who were arrested on the Temple Mount and its entryways, 27 of whom were arrested while praying or rounding the gates outside the Temple Mount. Out of this group 16 were ordered to appear in court based on police demand to restrict their access to the holiest area to Jews.

JNi.Media

To Prey or To Pray: Child Molesters in Shul

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

In life, we all have our heroes. And I, like everyone else, have a few people whom I consider heroes. One of those heroes is a survivor. No, not of the Holocaust–but her own personal Holocaust. Rivka Joseph is a survivor of molestation, abuse and other horrors that she had to face. Fortunately for many others, she is not only a survivor but also an advocate in the arena of child sexual abuse. With regularity, I follow her posts and the various threads in which she comments.

This afternoon, I began to follow a post of her’s and also even commented on it. That thread (for which I have her permission to share and can be seen on her Facebook page link above) discusses a very important topic. Convicted sex offenders, child molesters: Do they have a right to pray in a synagogue. Should a shul open its doors to a child sex abuser? Should we worry that the abuser is there to PREY and not to PRAY? Should we try to be welcoming and perhaps enable this soul to repent in our midst?

The answer to that question is a resounding NO! Under no circumstances should a convicted child sex offender be permitted in the walls of a shul. No exceptions! You chose to molest, rape, fondle, abuse a child: YOU HAVE FORFEITED YOUR PRIVILEGE TO PRAY WHERE KIDS ARE PRESENT! Why in the world would you even think it would be ok? On what planet would it be ok to put a child molester into a place (shul) that is supposed to be a safe environment?

If you want to have a minyan, ask nine other men to come over to your house and daven with them. But, never ever feel you are entitled to go to a place where children are davening. Rather than listen to MY words, listen to the words of an expert–Rivka Joseph:

“There are a number of reasons why we cannot allow these abusers in our shuls. The first being that it is impossible to keep an eye on our children every single second in shul. That is not a reflection on our parenting. It is the reality of life- and good parents allow their children age appropriate autonomy. Shul should be a safe place for our children, somewhere were they feel comfortable coming to daven and hear the Torah. It should be associated with pleasant memories, not ones of abuse.
The second reason is that when you allow someone into the shul, the children view that person as someone who is “OK.” That is where the grooming process starts, even if no abuse happens within the shul walls. If the abuser approaches a child later and says “come on, you remember me. You see me all the time in Shul on Shabbat,” then, the child associates this person with someone who is good and ok to be with. This is a very dangerous road to go down.”

I echo every word Rivka says in her post. And it is for this reason I urge every single shul to have a WRITTEN policy in their by-laws that strictly prohibits convicted child sex abusers from EVER entering into their building. Shuls have rules about which caterer can work in their kitchen out of concern to maintain a high level of Kashrut. Yet, in most cases, these same shuls are bereft of a policy regarding molesters.

We, as a community, have a responsibility to our children! We can not foster a situation in which our children are not safe. Please, in the strongest terms possible, I urge you to take action at your next Board Meeting or through whatever mechanism you use in your shul to pass a motion to add rules that will protect your children–our children. And never say “it won’t happen here.” That kind of statement, sadly, has led to many children becoming victims of child sexual abuse.

Rav Zev Shandalov

A Very Athletic Religion

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

I’m looking at this picture of Muslim worshipers on their hands and knees in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ma’ale ha-Zeitim (Ras al Amud) last Friday. In order to prevent riots on Temple Mount, police limited entry to Muslim men over 50, so everyone you see here must be younger. But still, I find the notion of falling down on my hands and knees five times a day both physically demanding and socially awkward.

I can’t stand it when the guy sitting next to me in shul leans too close to my area during davening. In fact, our tradition requires maintaining a bit of open space in front of each person during the Amida—STANDING prayer. I can’t imagine being down on the floor, tight with the guy and the whole shul – what is this Swedish gymnastics?

We do it a few times on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur every year, and it’s very special and inspiring, and I get that this is the way they used to do it in the Temple—once a year, when the High Priest called out the full name of God. But every day? Not happening.

When we do the holy bending on the Days of Awe, I get the submission thing. And I know that Mohammed or someone like him borrowed the falling on the knees thing from the Jews. Nevertheless, if this ever becomes the way we daven all the time, I’ll be davening at home.

Sliman Khader/Flash90

Sliman Khader/Flash90

Yori Yanover

I’m a Feminist and the Women of the Wall Don’t Represent Me

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Ha’aretz reported that a group of activists from the Women of the Wall organization are opposed to an Israeli governmental proposal to permit Reform Jewish congregants to have their own area to pray, independent from where both Orthodox Jewish men and women pray. In other words, these activists rejected a compromise proposal that designates an area of the Kotel where they are permitted to pray as they desire, in order to insist that Orthodox Jewish men and women be forced to conduct their prayers surrounded by individuals who don’t respect their religious customs.

As a modern orthodox Jewish feminist, I am outraged by the behavior of these activists, who dirt the name of feminism by their actions. Just as Reform Jews feel that they should have the right to pray as they are used to at one of the holiest sites in the Jewish religion, Orthodox Jews feel the exact same way. Furthermore, while Reform Jews are religiously permitted to pray in accordance with the Orthodox tradition, Orthodox Jews aren’t permitted to pray in a Reform manner, since their prayer services must follow a certain format according to Jewish law.

Even though nothing bars a Reform Jew from praying at the Kotel in an Orthodox manner, the Israeli government was respectful enough to offer Reform Jews their own location at one of the holiest sites in Judaism in order to pray as they please, without disturbing others. But instead of jumping on the opportunity and saying thank you to the Israeli government, activists from the Women of the Wall organization aren’t content. Why? Because the compromise proposal permits Orthodox Jews to continue praying as they have for thousands of years and this bothers them. While they demand religious toleration from others, they refuse to give others the same favor in return.

While Women of the Wall claims that it is not egalitarian to pray in an Orthodox manner, I would like to remind them that Jews have been praying for thousands of years a certain way and changing the religion is not in the hands of men. We cannot decide in the place of G-d what is Jewish law, based upon modern trends. Even if we don’t understand everything in Judaism, G-d always makes things a certain way for a reason and humans should never question G-d.

Nevertheless, Judaism remains to be one of the most egalitarian religions today, as women are believed to be at a spiritually higher level than men and countless Jewish women have held prominent positions both in the Tanakh and throughout Jewish history. Moses granted Jewish women the right to inherit at a time when women having such rights were unheard of. Even if one doesn’t desire to obey Jewish law due to ones own Reform belief system, the bare minimum that one should be able to do is to respect others that wish to and to do as one likes in a location that won’t disturb others.

I also would like to point out to these individuals that there are many more pressing issues facing feminists today than whether or not Jewish women will be able to wear a Tallit like the men and host a so-called “egalitarian” prayer service at the Kotel. I call upon any one who believes that having “egalitarian” prayer services at the Kotel is the most pressing issue facing women today to take a look at the world that we live in.

Women are getting raped en masse in Syria, either by government forces or by Islamist rebels as part of their sexual jihad. Around 50 percent of Yemen’s brides are under the age of 18. The UN stated that over 5,000 women are murdered each year in honor crimes. 2,500 brides in India are burnt to death each year, primarily due to dissatisfaction over the dowry. One young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, was almost murdered by the Pakistani Taliban for insisting on young girls in her country having the right to have an education. Around 125,000,000 girls in Africa and the Middle East are victims of female genital mutilation.

Closer to home, hundreds of young underage Jewish girls are seduced by Arab men each year. Many of these cases evolve into abduction, rape, and abusive marriages. This problem is especially acute in Southern Israel, where sexual harassment by Bedouin men is a major issue. Furthermore, according to the OECD statistics, the Israeli police recorded 17.5 cases of rape within the country per 100,000 people within the Israeli population in 2012. There were only 9 OECD members who had worst statistics than these in regards to rape, one of them naturally being the United States. Recently, Jerusalem Online News reported that only two female mayors were elected to serve in the 2013 municipal elections. This means that out of all of the Israeli municipalities, there are only 4 female mayors in the entire country.

Rachel Avraham

JBlog Roundup: Love and Marriage and Hate and Divorce and Blintzes

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

You want strange news? I’ll give you strange news:

According to a complaint filed in Federal Court, Nancy Genovese, a mother of three, was arrested for taking a picture of the decorative shell of a helicopter on display in full public view near the entrance of the Gabreski Airport in Suffolk County, New York.

While shooting the chopper from her car, she was approached by a Southampton Town Policeman, who demanded to know why she was taking photographs. The cop notified the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and the authorities at Gabreski Airport that Nancy was posing a terrorist threat.

Among those responding to the call were airport officials, Homeland Security, the FBI, the Southhampton Police Department, and the Westhampton Police Department. Genovese and her 18- and 20-year-old sons were questioned for six hours by the side of the road by everybody in range wearing a uniform. It’s not a very busy airport. it’s not like they had better things to do.

This went on for quite some time, and involved many different kinds of humiliation and threats, including a lot of needless jail time and being placed on suicide watch – and also some cash is missing, don’t ask. Read the whole thing, if you’re into this kind of entertainment (of course you are). But the lesson we take from this really bizarre story is:

Cops Scare Easy.

Seriously, it’s something I’ve learned a long time ago, and just goes with their territory. Cops Scare Easy, and so when you run up against one of them, think of him as Bambi, fragile, and frightened out of his mind. But it’s Bambi with a sidearm, so be even sweeter.

EAT, PRAY, LOVE, WED

Tania, a female Jewish Orthodox student at Yeshiva University with an international background. She says she attended a wide range of Orthodox institutions from the right to the left. In her blog, Thinking Jew Girl, she goes into School, Peace in the Middle East, Orthodoxy (whatever that means), women’s rights, shidduchim, engagements, weddings (that’s three different aspects of the same gigantic issue), food, politics and anything else (I think she may have left out only figure skating and philately).

Yesterday, a reader wrote her: “I’m worried I will never get married. Do you have any suggestions of how I can avoid this nagging feeling? Do you have the same problem?”

If I had a dollar for every time some friend told me she was afraid she’d never get married… My humble opinion is that getting a good shidduch is a lot like finding the right home: the range of the supply depends on the demand. Or, in other words, it’s all about expectations and standards.

I’m saying it even though I actually found my loved one of many, many years all by myself, without the help of a shadchan. Back then we were a little looser, if you know what I mean. And I’ve stuck by the same lovely person ever since (we’re in our fourth decade together, in case you’re curious).

Tanya writes back: “I totally understand and empathize with your feelings of frustration.”

She continues with a heart breaker:

“About a year ago, I went out with this guy who was ten years older than me… It was the best first date of my life. He had huge warm eyes, a friendly demeanor, a genius mind, he was tall and cute, and the conversation had this awesome flow, positive energy, and I was sitting there thinking ‘Oh my Gosh! This guy is SO cute!'”

But then… “A month later at midnight he dumped me.”

To find out how Tanya managed that one and what she’s doing every day to stay sane and not slip behind in her YU work, visit her blog and say hi from Tibbi.

GET THAT GET

First, here’s the NY Post report, condensed version:

Four guys in black ski masks, tied up and beat Robert Klein, 25, an Orthodox guy from Brooklyn, until he told a rabbi he was giving his wife a get.

Tibbi Singer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/jblogs/jblog-roundup-love-and-marriage-and-hate-and-divorce-and-blintzes/2012/05/16/

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